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And you thought the U.S. postal service was bad?

And you thought the U.S. postal service was bad?

Aug 12th, 2008, 04:13 PM
  #1  
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And you thought the U.S. postal service was bad?

In March, 2004, I was in Paris with a friend. One day I picked up a postcard and stamp, wrote it out to my son in Florida, and planned to mail it at the first mailbox I saw. Well, I forgot I had the card in my bag until the night before our early morning departure, so I gave it to the desk clerk to add to their outgoing mail the next day.

After arriving home, I asked my son if he had received the card and was told that he hadn't. I was a little peeved, and decided that I'd never waste time buying postcards again since since there was no guarantee that they'd ever find their way to the U.S.

Last Friday (August 8th), I received an email from my son. He had just received the postcard and it was postmarked 4/8/08! The only postmark was Paris, and it had TWO stamps on it. (Obviously the cost of mailing a postcard had gone up in France, as it has here in the U.S.)

So, 4-1/2 years after mailing the card, it was finally delivered! Anyone else have a similar experience?
travgina is offline  
Aug 12th, 2008, 04:20 PM
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I think this is pretty cool! What's interesting is that even though it was finally mailed in April (presumably a hotel employee found it and decided to mail it), it still took four months to arrive. I love it!
SusanP is online now  
Aug 12th, 2008, 04:21 PM
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Don't blame this on the post office--it was the desk clerk's neglect that caused this.

I've had postcards from Italy take three months to reach New York--and these I mailed myself at the post office in the international box.
ellenem is offline  
Aug 12th, 2008, 04:22 PM
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Post mark of 4/8/08 is actually August 4, 2008, according to European date system.
ellenem is offline  
Aug 12th, 2008, 04:29 PM
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ellenm, I'm not blaming anyone. After over four years, my son and I both found it to be really funny! We agreed that the card had somehow been misplaced at the hotel, and upon recently finding it, they added another stamp and mailed it.

When my son said it had been mailed April 8th, I told him that in Europe, they use day, month and year, but do you think that the card could have been mailed from Paris on August 4th and arrive in Florida on the 8th? I've never had anyone receive my postcards from Europe that fast.
travgina is offline  
Aug 12th, 2008, 04:50 PM
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I've had mail come from Europe in 3 days.
Michael is online now  
Aug 12th, 2008, 04:56 PM
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Blame might have been the wrong choice of words, though the title implied someone was to blame/bad.

Strangely enough, I've also had letters mailed from Italy arrive in New York two days later when using the relatively new priority mail system there.

Years ago a friend received a postcard 14 years after it was sent by exchange students from Germany. After a few weeks of pondering this shocking occurrence, her cousin called and asked if she'd received the card. 14 years before, after she originally received the card, she'd given it to her cousin who collected cards. He'd decided to drop it in the mail again, 14 years later, to see what would happen. It arrived safely without new postage, but sent shock waves through the family.
ellenem is offline  
Aug 12th, 2008, 04:56 PM
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I have had next-day delivery.
Padraig is offline  
Aug 12th, 2008, 05:00 PM
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Well, yes, I temporarily forgot about switching the month and day. So four days once it was actually mailed is pretty good!
SusanP is online now  
Aug 12th, 2008, 05:16 PM
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I received a letter from a woman that found my bottle with a note that I threw overboard in the middle of Atlantic, about 4 years later... That's a true story.

If you want postcards to arrive in timely manner, put them in an envelope and mail first class. It has been my experience that it usually arrives within a week at worst, but mostly in few days. Postcards seem to take much longer no matter where you mail them.
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Aug 12th, 2008, 06:03 PM
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>> Well, I forgot I had the card in my bag until the night before our early morning departure<<

And it was your card to your son!

And you thought Europeans were inattentive.
zeppole is offline  
Aug 12th, 2008, 07:05 PM
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zeppole, LOL, you got me! Shame on me!

Really, I wasn't at all upset (the title of my post could definitely have been worded better). Son and I really got a chuckle out of it because we had forgotten about it years ago, and like SusanP said, it was pretty cool to have it show up now.

Since none of my previous mail had been received so quickly, I just assumed that the postmark was April 8th, rather than August 4th. Shows how much I know!
travgina is offline  
Aug 12th, 2008, 09:16 PM
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A fun story travgina. Years ago mail from Italy use to take "forever" but starting around five years ago I would be amazed that I received letters and postcards within a week from the dated postmark.
LoveItaly is offline  
Aug 13th, 2008, 12:01 AM
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My experience within Europe was that if you write a postcard from Southern Europe (Spain, Italy, Greece) to Germany or Switzerland it can take 2-3 weeks to arrive. The same postcard stuck into an envelope arrives almost infallibly within 2-3 days, even though the stamp is the same.
I assume that the postcards automatically get the lowest priority...
altamiro is offline  
Aug 13th, 2008, 02:30 AM
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While in Germany earlier this month, I sent a postcard from Freiburg to my mother in a small city in central PA. I mailed it late in the afternoon on August 5th and she received it the morning of the 8th.
BTilke is offline  
Aug 13th, 2008, 04:30 AM
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Actually our mail service here in central Maryland improved significantly about 10 years ago, and has been great ever since!

I have mailed postcards from various European countries--some arrived quickly, some slowly, and others were never received. Though it appears they could show up some day.
Jake1 is offline  
Aug 13th, 2008, 04:34 AM
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If I don't drop it in the mailbox myself, I don't count on it ever arriving.
Travelnut is offline  
Aug 13th, 2008, 05:05 AM
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Last year while in Turkey I was at a museum in Ankara. I had a few postcards I wanted to mail and saw a mailbox outside the door to the museum.

At first I was hesitant to mail the cards there because I thought it was in an out of the way location. But after seeing several others put their postcards in I did the same. Those cards still have not arrived (a year and counting!).

Later that evening I left the last few postcards I wanted to mail with the hotel front desk and they arrived within 2 weeks.

LowCountryIslander is offline  
Aug 13th, 2008, 05:10 AM
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ira
 
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T asks,

>do you think that the card could have been mailed from Paris on August 4th and arrive in Florida on the 8th?<

If you put 2 stamps on it and write "Air Mail, Par Avion, Luftpost" on it - of course.

Otherwise, it goes by ship.

You expected to give a postcard to the hotel the night before you left Paris and have it arrive in the US before you did?

ira is online now  
Aug 13th, 2008, 05:31 AM
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My experience with the old Italian system had been that it took a month or more for a postcard or letter to arrive in the U.S. I recall hearing this story that the Italian was backed up: In one town there was a train car full of mail sitting and waiting for ages. Whenever the postal inspectors came through, they'd move the train car down the line to the next town. Then they'd move it back as the inspector moved on.

The Italian postal service was completely overhauled in about the year 2000. My Italian friend spoke glowingly of the new system particularly about the priority mail postage you could use, even on normal letters and postcards. When I visited her then, I was elated to have my postcards from my two-week trip beat me home, arriving in just five days.

On a trip to Italy with another friend in 2001, I recommended the new postal system. We both wrote postcards and affixed the priority postage. I dropped them in the international box at the main post office in Venice.

All the postcards addressed to California arrived in five days.

All the postcards addressed to New York arrived three months later.

I suspect the New York mail sack was in a forgotten corner. However, every one of our New York recipients contacted us, amused to have received the card after such a long time. In a sense, the lateness was an extra gift to them--a good story.
ellenem is offline  

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